About Bhutan

Country Profile

  • Land area : 38,394 square kilometers
  • Forest area : 72.5 %
  • Altitude : between 240metres and 7541metres above sea level
  • Inhabitants : 634,982
  • Language : official language “Dzongkha”, English widely spoken
  • Religion : Vajrayana stream of Mahayana Buddhism (Also known as Tantric Buddhism)
  • Currency : Ngultrum (equal to Indian Rupee)
  • Capital : Thimphu
  • National Tree : Cypress
  • National Bird : Raven
  • National Flower : Blue Poppy
  • National Sport : Archery
  • National Animal : Takin
  • Local time : Six hours ahead of GMT and half an hour ahead of Indian Standard Time

People and Culture

The two are core aspects of culture. And though Bhutan is a small country there are three major ethnic groups; the Sharchops-people of eastern Bhutan,the Ngalops (people of western Bhutan) and the Lhotsampas (people of Southern Bhutan).

However, other groups such as Bumtaps(people of Bumthang), Khengpas(people living in the district of Zhemgang), Layaps and Brokpas (the two communities that migrate) are prominent. There are about 20 different dialects spoken by the people.However, dzongkha – the language of the people of western Bhutan is the official language.

Bhutanese men wear Gho – a knee length robe tied at the waist by a belt known as Kera.
Women wear Kira- an ankle length dress, which is also tied at the waist by a Kera. Komas- brooches fasten the Kira on their shoulder. A long sleeved blouse known as a wonjo is worn inside the Kira and a Tego (like a jacket) is worn outside.A traditional boot called the Tsolam is also worn on special occasions.

Additionally, scarfs called kabney for men and rachu for women is worn during formal occasions and in offices. There are different colors of a Kabney, which represent the hierarchy in society, including the post that a man/woman holds.The yellow scarf is for the King and the Head abbot. The Orange are for ministers, the red for Dashos (a title equivalent to Knighthood); blue for members of the Parliament; green for the Justices and white for common man.

A Patang (sword) is also tied to the belt and is the prerogative of those that are ordained with the red, blue, green, orange and the yellow scarfs. However, the King can ordain a patang for those with white scarfs.

Language and Religion

The national language of Bhutan is Dzongkha, which is widely spoken in western region. The eastern region of the country speak Sharchop, where as the people in the south speak Nepali.

English has been used as the medium of instructions in schools and institutes. You will get by comfortably if you speak English, as the langue is taught in schools in Bhutan. Many children in Bhutan tend to walk up to visitors, wave and say hi or hello. The Bhutanese are always thrilled when they meet visitors who try to speak their language.

The 80% of people of Buddhist faith while balance follows Hindu beliefs. Besides offering spectacular natural beauty and a pristine environments, Bhutan’s landscape is studded with a profusion of majestic dzongs, beautiful gompas(monasteries) and chortens (stupas) that are evidence of living spiritual culture.

The kingdom of Bhutan’s official religion is Drukpa Kagyu,a school of Mahayana Buddhism .Bhutan came under the bhudhist influence via Tibet. Apparently this was foretold by the chief protagonist of the vajrayana teaching of Buddhism-Guru Rinpoche, the precious teacher.

Entry to Bhutan

Travel by Air
The country’s only international airport in Paro caters to the needs of visitors coming or returning by air from its destinations in Bangkok, Kathmandu, Singapore, Dacca, and the Indian cities in Delhi, Kolkatta, Bombay, Guwahati and Bagdora.

Bumthang in central Bhutan has a domestic airport offering alternative choice for faster local travel to central and east of Bhutan. Meanwhile two other domestic airports in Gelephu in the south and Yonphula in the east would soon be ready for operation.

Bhutan introduced its first private airline, an airbus A319 much to the relief of tour operators and other travelers since 2014

Travel by Land
Phuntsholing, a border town with India serves as the gateway for travellers by land to the west of Bhutan. For travellers in North-east India can easily take a domestic flight to Bagdora airport from where it takes 3 to 4 hrs. drive by car to the boarder town in Phuntsholing, the commercial hub of Bhutan. A pleasant overnight stay in the town, you are in Thimphu, the capital city in 4-5 hours on the following day.

Similarly we have Gelephu in south-central and Samdrup Jongkhar in the south-east serve as an entry points for travellers arriving by land routes from the nearest Indian airport Guwahati 3 hours drive away.